NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Nashville Predators pulled into a 2-2 tie with the Carolina Hurricanes in their Stanley Cup Playoffs series.
Luke Kunin scored the game-winning goal Sunday in the second overtime for a 4-3 win to tie the series.
But did you know that Kunin broke his stick seconds before that goal? That’s where Predators veteran equipment manager Pete Rogers stepped in.
Rogers quickly grabbed one of Kunin’s extra sticks.
Quickly and seamlessly he got it to Kunin, allowing the forward to become a part of Predators’ history.
“It’s overtime, the crowd’s going nuts,” said Rogers. “Everybody on the bench is yelling as well.”
“I broke my stick. Our equipment guy had it ready,” said Kunin. “I got up in the slot and found a way to get it in there,” said Kunin of his game-winning goal.
Four overtimes. A total of 191 minutes, 4 seconds of hockey. Two hundred and fourteen shots on goal.
“We actually gave Pete an applause after the game,” said Predators Head Coach John Hynes. “Veteran equipment manager, he’s been around. He’s plugged into the game. Tip of the cap to Pete Rogers for sure.”
“Just a crazy, quick deal and luckily he went down and scored, and it ended that way,’ said Rogers.
Rogers is no stranger to assists.
Back in the 2018 playoffs, Filip Forsberg broke his stick in Game 6 in Winnipeg.
The TV broadcast of the game showed Rogers handing Forsberg a new one while the forward was in mid-stride on the ice. Forsberg then proceeded to score a goal.
“That one was funny. I’m all the way down the bench inside the blue line. Fil breaks that stick. I see him coming, he’s flying,” said Rogers. “I’ve gotta get back three or four steps. I ran over Dan Muse, our assistant coach at the time, to make sure Fil stayed onside.”
The consummate professional.
How’s this for irony?
Rogers said that because everyone on the bench was standing, he didn’t even see that Kunin was the guy who ended up scoring Sunday’s goal.
“Our video coach, Lawrence Feloney, came in afterwards and told me what happened. I initially didn’t get it right away,” said Rogers. “Everybody behind the scenes tries to contribute every day. Just to be a small part of it is pretty special.”
The Predators and Carolina Hurricanes play Game 5 of the series on Tuesday in Raleigh, NC, before returning home on Thursday for Game 6.
The NHL announced Monday that Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena would begin at 8:30 p.m.